Easter has always been a special time for my husband, Jeff, and me to gather with our relatives for a very special meal.
As the family sits around the dinner table, we thank God for His many blessings and enjoy each other and good food. Usually we linger for hours, talking and—more importantly—laughing together.
Ham with Cherry Sauce, Golden Scalloped Potatoes, Almond-Orange Tossed Salad and Double-Crust Rhubarb Pie are my all-time favorite Easter foods.
My mother-in-law, Ruth B., taught me how to make the delightful
cherry sauce for my baked ham. Different from the standard brown sugar glaze, it is fruity tasting and its bright ruby color stands out. Brown sugar still plays an important role, however. I combine it with maple syrup and ground mustard, then rub the mixture over the scored ham before baking it.
Perfect Pairing with Potatoes
Golden Scalloped Potatoes are a must with ham. I like this casserole best when it bakes to a golden brown. The recipe is also from my mother-in-law.
My mother, Lillian A., introduced me to Almond-Orange Tossed Salad in 1995. Mandarin oranges are a refreshing addition to the greens and sugared almonds in this pretty salad. And I love the pleasant sweet dressing!
I started cooking in junior high home economics classes, and my
mother taught my two sisters and me how to bake. When we were in
high school, Mom went to work full-time, and getting dinner started
was up to us. We'd get the meat roasting…pull together a few side dishes…and when Mom and Dad arrived, dinner was ready!
A Slice of Spring Flavor
The recipe for Double-Crust Rhubarb Pie—an old-fashioned spring comfort food—came from a church cookbook. What makes this pie different from the traditional rhubarb pie is the custard filling.
I never really appreciated spring until I moved from southern California—where the seasons never change drastically—to Ohio in 1983. Now I can better understand the connection between Easter and spring—they both celebrate a new beginning and new life.
I was born and raised in Chula Vista, a San Diego suburb, and met
Jeff when he was stationed in the Navy and came to the church I
attended. We've been married about 25 years.
I work as a program manager for a JPMorgan Chase bank, and Jeff
is a millwright for Ball Corporation. We do not have children but enjoy spending time with our relatives and friends.
Jeff is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, and I like to cook for him. However, the daring part of my personality strikes out when I try new recipes. I love to experiment!
When we go to a potluck, friends tell me they look for the most
unusual dish on the buffet and say that it must be mine. For some of our family gatherings, all the cooks agree to bring only new items. That's when I turn to Taste of Home, because I know the recipes are "tried and true"—and they always turn out!
We are building our own home "from scratch." Jeff has done most of the work, with help from friends and family. He's so talented that he even made all of our cupboards, with fluting and decorative work.
I'm excited about my new kitchen with two ovens—one conventional, one convection. Cooking and hosting holiday parties will be even more fun!
Besides cooking, I enjoy scrapbooking. I make custom photo albums for gifts and also sell some by special order.
I do hope you'll enjoy the cherished recipes I'm sharing as much as we do. Happy Easter!
Lavonn's Hints for A Carefree Dinner
- I usually make the cherry sauce for the ham the night before and reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. This saves time in the kitchen after you arrive home for dinner from church.
- For the Golden Scalloped Potatoes, I peel the whole potatoes the night before and seal them in a zip-top bag with the air removed so they don't turn brown. In the morning, I slice them and assemble the casserole. You can also add diced onions and/or cheese to the dish for variety.
- To get a head start on the Almond-Orange Tossed Salad, mix the lettuce, celery and green onions in a zip-top bag the night before. Store oranges, avocado, nuts and dressing in separate bags or jars and add to the salad before serving.
- Each spring, I chop, pre-measure and freeze rhubarb in the amounts needed for recipes like Double-Crust Rhubarb Pie. I label the bag with the date and amount of rhubarb.